If you pour water up the nose of a terrorist, Democrats everywhere will condemn you as a torturer, but if you ramble on for days, repeating yourself like a jackhammer to convince people your lies are the truth, those same people will line up to shine your shoes. That was the story of the “opening statement” from the team of Democrats in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump this week.
Adam Schiff and his merry band of impeachment managers gave it the old college try in a very long, repetitive, and boring opening statement in the next step of their party’s 2020 election strategy. If you weren’t a member of the Democratic Party or their media, you likely didn’t watch much, if any. I didn’t watch a lot of it, and neither, it seems, did the senators of both parties required to do so.
What I did see, in between the drooling masquerading as analysis and refractory periods for “pundits” scrambling to remember their rehearsed talking points about the “need for witnesses,” was unconvincing.
Schiff has a public history of lying. Not getting things wrong, but knowingly speaking untruths. He’s either hiding proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, even still, or he was lying when he repeatedly said it. He was either lying when he issued an official report declaring no abuse of the FISA process against people involved with the Trump campaign or…actually, there is no “or” here. The Inspector General, and now even the FISA Court, admitted as much, and they did so with all the same evidence Schiff insisted showed the exact opposite. To paraphrase Schiff’s own words, if that’s not a lie, nothing is.
None of this, however, has hampered the affection for Adam Schiff from the people whose job it’s supposed to be to seek and report the truth to the American people. The Democratic Party’s media has a willingness to ignore his lies that rivals any alcoholic’s refusal to admit they have a drinking problem. They fact-check the number of days the House of Representatives held onto the articles of impeachment like their lives depend on it (28 vs 33, who cares?), but remain loyal to someone who regularly uses them to gaslight their audiences and torch their credibility. Charles Manson didn’t enjoy that level of loyalty from the people who killed for him.
Liberal pundits like “CNN Chief Legal Analyst” Jeff Toobin were “dazzled.” An endless string of former Clinton and Obama administration officials (who are mostly introduced with their former titles, not the party affiliation that got them those titles, curiously) uniformly praised their fellow Democrats in what appeared to be a contest to sound closest to a 13-year-old girl in the first row of a Beatles concert in 1964. It was embarrassing to watch.
Then there are the “Cable News Conservatives.” These made-for-TV Republicans like Jennifer Rubin and Matt Lewis serve as props to allow MSNBC and CNN to claim balance, like when “feminist lawyer” Lisa Bloom signed on to represent Harvey Weinstein as cover against his actions. You can’t blame Weinstein for hiring her, it was smart PR. The problem was taking the job exposed her as a fraud and a hypocrite.
The pretzel Bloom had to twist herself into in order to justify her actions was a position she couldn’t sustain. Cable news conservatives have no such problem. All they have to do is be willing to be identified as the “conservative” on a multiple-person panel. They don’t have to say anything conservative, so beyond the label they don’t even have to fake it. The things they say won’t face challenge because, well, they say the same things the liberals do, just with a fake “disappointed to have to say it” subtext. They are testaments to how far people can get if their only goal is to get far and you don’t care how you do it.
While you can look at these groups of people and understand their motivations for how they are and how they’ve reacted this week, you would be hard-pressed to spot the difference between what those paid to play those roles and others whose role is to play objective reporter say. They helped frame the discussions by focusing on some things and not others, and always on the left.
Schiff repeatedly quoted Trump saying Article II of the Constitution allows him to “do whatever I want.” He did this, with no context, to give the impression that the President thinks he can run wild over government. But context matters. Trump was explicitly talking about his ability to fire Robert Mueller, which he could have (but he didn’t). Out-of-context and put in a different framing, it sounds bad. In context, it makes perfect sense. The job of a journalist is supposed to be to give the framing Schiff didn’t, yet none did.
Journalists, cable news personalities, and the executives who employ them seem to be betting that audiences and some semblance of credibility will return to them if they can simply outlast the Trump presidency. It won’t. They’ve shown us who they all are, even people only barely paying attention aren’t going to forget that. And all this is before the President’s team has even stepped up to the plate.
The total exposure and destruction of what passes for journalism will be the among the greatest accomplishments of the Trump presidency, whether it goes a second term, ends in a year, or even tomorrow. When the autopsy is eventually done, they will find journalism’s coffin was nailed shut from the inside.
Derek is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses.